Making your pet comfortable at home should be your topmost priority as a pet parent. That sounds like a lot of pressure, right? Don't worry because we got you. We'll share with you a few things that can help you become the best fur parent you can be.
From providing the right bedding and accessories to understanding their needs beyond what's material, here are some tips on ways to make pets more comfortable at home.
1. Create a Safe Space
You must create a safe space for your fur (or furless) baby. This is one of the most important things you must do as a pet owner. First, you need to identify the things that can potentially hurt your pet. The next obvious step is to hide or remove these hazards. Example:
- Expect active and playful dogs to bump into tables and corners often. So, make sure sharp knives and pans are out of the way. Put them safely in drawers or hang them securely so they won’t fall and hurt your pet.
- Both cats and dogs have a keener sense of smell than humans. Some of us might think that this makes them less prone to ingesting harmful chemicals. But they are curious creatures, so it’s best to keep medication, skincare items, and cleaning agents covered and away from easy access.
- Many common houseplants are toxic to cats and dogs. Some cause mild symptoms, but the level of toxicity varies from pet to pet. Consider how you keep your pets safe from your existing houseplants.
Private Corner or Sanctuary
Aside from removing hazards, pets need their own safe space. They would likely want to hang out wherever you are at home and are perfectly content sleeping on the floor and furniture. But they should have a private corner or sanctuary to retreat and feel extra safe.
- Younger dogs might need their crates for a while until they can adjust and feel safe in your home. Older dogs, meanwhile, usually need a special orthopedic bed to prevent or manage joint pain, which is common among larger breeds. They usually get scared of thunder and lightning (and other loud noises), so they need a hiding spot to ease their anxiety levels.
Cats love to climb, scratch, and hide. A cat tree or cat tower makes a great private space for cats because it’s like an all-in-one space for them to express their feline instincts. Of course, this is not necessary for them to enjoy your home. You can designate a spot for them on a shelf or even leave out cardboard boxes where they can hide. The scratching bit is tricky because they love to scratch.
- Aside from safe nooks, designated eating corners are also necessary. It also helps you keep your space tidy, with food dishes and water bowls hidden from immediate view but easily accessible to your pets.
Is It OK for Pets to Be on the Furniture?
This is one question that you need to answer before getting a pet.
It’s really up to you. There’s nothing better than curling up on the couch with your cat or dog after a long day at work. But that’s fine if you don’t want your pets to be on the furniture. It means you must teach them where to go instead. This also goes without question that designating private corners for your pets is necessary in this case.
Quick Tip: If you live with your family, you must decide as a group. This ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding training and discipline.
Pet-Friendly Materials Are the Best
If you’re okay with pets chilling on your furniture, go for pet-friendly materials that are easy to clean. Wipeable textiles are ideal choices. But there are other factors to consider as well. Generally, you would want a fabric that’s high-quality, safe, and easy to maintain.
Consult the professionals (that’s us) if you’re unsure which fabric and material to use. Feel free to talk to our experienced staff at T.Y. Fine Furniture so you can choose the best furniture and upholstery for you and your precious furry friend.
2. Teach Them Where to Go
How can you teach your pets where to go?
Reward-based training is recommended to teach pets where we want them to hang out. You can use their favorite food or toy to “pay” them for going to their special nooks, whether it’s their nice bed or on the sofa. They’ll gladly run to where the good stuff is (at least, ideally), especially if the treats are worth their while. Many dogs respond really well to peanut butter, though you have to check if your fur baby is allergic to them or not.
Avoid chastising or punishing your pets harshly if they go off-course and don’t immediately follow your command. These things might take time, so be patient and give them lots of love as they try and learn. Showing them your unconditional love and support is part of creating safe spaces for your pets.
Quick Tip: Pets prefer warm, comfortable places to sleep in, so provide comfortable beds throughout your home. During winter, you might need to provide heating pads.
3. Build a Fun Zone
Creating a fun zone for your pets is a great way to keep them occupied and happy at home. It hardly matters if this space is simple or elaborate. Your pet will certainly appreciate that it has its own little playground.
Whether indoors or outdoors, this special place must include toys, scratch posts, perches, tunnels, cushions and blankets, pet-safe trees, and anything that your fur baby might need. And, of course, don’t forget to provide water and food bowls, just in case your pet gets thirsty or wants a snack.
4. Establish a Routine
Routines are great because they provide structure and consistency for your pets. Even though a routine mostly benefits your fur babies, it also disciplines you to follow a schedule, ensuring that your pet is cared for.
Establish a routine for your pets by setting regular times for feeding, potty breaks, and exercise. And if you want to go the extra mile, you can even set specific times for playtime or cuddles!
A routine will also help with behavioral issues like barking or scratching furniture. Your pet must know what’s expected of them so they don’t feel anxious. And these routines should apply to all people at home, too. This way, everyone is on the same page when caring for your furry friend.
5. Let Them Adjust to Your Lifestyle
Establishing a routine is important because it helps your pets adapt to your lifestyle. Ensure your pet is comfortable with all the loud noises and activities it may encounter while living with you. Gradually introduce them to any activity you enjoy, like playing the drums or camping outdoors, whatever they may be, so they don’t feel scared or overwhelmed.
If you work a 9 to 5 job in an office, it makes sense that your pet (especially dogs) gets its potty break in the morning or evening. If you live the dreamy van life, driving across the country and staying in vast outdoors, give your pet time to get adjusted to the open space (and the small space in the van).
6. Ensure Their Health
Ensuring your pets’ health should always be a top priority, and it’s simply how you keep your pet truly comfortable. Visit the vet regularly so that any underlying health issues are detected early. This is especially important when your cat or dog is young. It’s mostly at the early stages that your pet is prone to getting deadly diseases.
Whatever age your pet may be, regular visits to the vet are a MUST. It’s the best way to prevent health problems for your precious fur baby. Don’t forget to keep up with vaccinations, too.
Quick Tip: Watch out for signs of stress or anxiety in your pet, manifesting as changes in sleeping habits, aggression, and demeanor. Aside from physical health, you must also protect their mental health.
Is grooming required, and how often?
Grooming is actually very important for your pet’s physical health and overall well-being. Many pet owners are guilty of skipping pet grooming too often. But if you want to keep your pet’s skin healthy, get rid of parasites, and help detect diseases early on, you should groom your pet regularly.
The grooming schedule depends on the breed of your pet. Long-haired pets typically need grooming at least once a month to prevent mats and dirt build-up. Short-haired breeds, meanwhile, may not need as much grooming. Still, they might also have other needs. The hairless Sphynx cat, for example, doesn’t need hair brushing. But it does need regular baths to remove dirt and grime from its skin.
Quick Tip: Regular visits to a skilled groomer can also help to safeguard your furnishings!
7. Be There for Your Pets
Pets need attention just as much as humans, and you must ensure your furry friends get enough of it. Spend quality time with them, whether you take them outdoors or simply snuggle with them on the sofa. When they’re scared, hug them and assure them that everything is okay. When they want to play, give them a few minutes of your time.
Your dependable and loving presence is key to making them feel comfortable in your home. A fancy fun zone or an elaborate pet corner hardly competes with you simply being there for them.
- What Do Rug Pads Do: 5 Reasons Why You Need Them
- How to Choose Furniture for Smaller Spaces
- How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies: 4 Home Remedies You Must Try
First published on March 30, 2022. This article has been updated.